Initial Views Roundup
News / August 25, 2020

While it’s only fair to review a book after reading it in full, first impressions are also important. With that in mind, here are some initial thoughts on many recent releases. They are based on the free sample on Kindle, which usually includes somewhere up to the first 10% of the total book. Kicking Down Doors… by LJ Tracosasis an authorized WWE book covering the history of female wrestling. Written in full kayfabe mode, it looks like it falls into the obvious trap of having to simultaneously push the idea that the promotion revolutionized womens wrestling in 2015 while avoiding any suggestion it treated female performers unfairly at any time before that. This includes the particularly baffling comment that after losing the womens title to the Fabulous Moolah/Spider Lady (with no acknowledgement of the double-cross by the promotion), a devastated Wendi Richter “walked out of the arena and out of WWE for good, but with the satisfaction of knowing that she had changed WWE – and the way the world saw its female Superstars – forever.” Donald Trump and the Kayfabe Presidency: Professional Wrestling Rhetoric in the White House (Rhetoric, Politics and Society) by Shannon Bow O’Brien appears to be…

Recent Release Roundup
News / August 20, 2020

The following recent releases did not get advance listings and thus weren’t in our weekly release schedule. The Wrestling Insomniac by Michael J Labbe The Wrestling Insomniac blog started on March 1, 2015, this book is a collection of some of the most popular posts with updates noted as events have changed over the years. Stories include the NWA’s 1998 Invasion of the WWE, Failure of “The New” Tag Teams, the Smackdown Juniors Division, The WCW Hall of Fame, Hulk Hogan’s Rare TV Matches, New Japan Wrestling in the Soviet Union and many more. The History of the WWF Volume III: 1988: From 1985 to the Present by Jonathan Johnson Imagine going back in time and reliving WWF history as it actually happened. Not as the WWE wants to present it, but as it actually aired. No longer would superstars disappear from the history books or angles be edited out because they’re deemed too offensive to WWE’s current corporate philosophy. Instead, you’d see the WWF as it aired, as you remembered it if you’re old enough, or as it really happened for the first time if you’re a younger fan. You’d see the WWF that turned a regional promotion into a…

New Book on Wrestling Pioneer
News / June 22, 2020

Steven Bell has a new title due for release on 5 October, The Man Of All Talents. It covers Douglas Clark, a key figure in the UK’s pro wrestling revival in the 1930s. A Man of All Talents is the remarkable story of rugby and wrestling legend Douglas ‘Duggy’ Clark. Born in 1891 in the sleepy Cumbrian village of Maryport, at 14 he left school to work for his father’s coal merchant business. Duggy grew into an exceptionally strong but quiet and reserved young man. His two great passions were rugby and Cumberland and Westmorland-style wrestling, and he excelled at both. By 24 he was already a rugby league great and a key member of Huddersfield’s ‘Team of All Talents’, winning every honour the sport could offer. He represented Britain in the infamous 1914 ‘Rorke’s Drift’ tour of Australia before being called up to serve in the Great War. He was awarded the Military Medal for bravery, but his war injuries were so severe he was discharged with a 20% disability certificate. Doctors gave Duggy an ultimatum: either he could stay home and live a long but sedate and ordinary life or risk his health by returning to sport. He…

Vince McMahon Bio coming
News / June 1, 2020

Author Abraham Riesman has announced he is writing a biography of Vince McMahon to be published by Atria Books (part of Simon & Shchuster) with the blurb: …a biography of Vince McMahon, who went from a dyslexic boy growing up in a trailer park to the iconoclastic Chairman and CEO of the multi-billion dollar WWE empire, with new reporting and exclusive interviews from those witnessed, aided and suffered from his ascent. Riesman previously wrote a biography of Marvel Comics writer Stan Lee. This will be the first full-blown bio of McMahon, though Shaun Assael’s Sex, Lies and Headlocks was loosely organised around his life and career. Hold your excitement however, as the new book has no scheduled release date and Riesman is aiming for late 2022.

Recent Release Roundup
News , Uncategorized / May 18, 2020

The following recent releases did not get advance listings and thus weren’t in our weekly release schedule. When It Was: My Life on Both Sides of the Camera by Scott Romer and John Cosper For as long as he could remember, Scott Romer loved wrestling and photography. He was only a freshman in high school when he became business partners with the legendary Dick the Bruiser, selling photographs to the fans at Indiana wrestling shows. Soon Romer’s passion for photography and the fights led him to become a boxing photographer, a wrestler, a manager, a boxer, a mule, and so much more. This is the story of a boy who turned a side hustle into a life-long adventure. It’s the story of a young man who became Dick the Bruiser’s son-in-law and the infamous manager Saul Creatchman. It’s the story of the most unlikely “heavyweight” fighter in Midwest boxing history. It’s the story of the man who exposed the infamous Onita stabbing angle and had a scary run-in with Israeli intelligence. When It Was combines Scott Romer’s own narrative with more than 250 photos from his remarkable life. You’ll also read first hand stories told by long time friends including MMA…

Free Books During COVID-19 Pandemic
News / April 6, 2020

The Internet Archive has added a large selection of books for free loan during the COVID-19 Pandemic. You’ll need to sign up for a free account and the books are then virtually “checked out” while you read them. The copyright issues are a little questionable, with the site’s logic being that this replaces physical libraries that are temporarily shut. It doesn’t appear to be paying any royalties so if you read a book this way and enjoy it, you should try to buy a copy (print or eBook) if possible so the author gets compensated. You’ll find just under 600 wrestling-related titles, though most are on amateur wrestling and many of the pro wrestling titles are from the budget end of the market. (The collection is generally 20th century titles without an eBook edition.) A few of note that I’ve reviewed on here include:   A Lion’s Tale: Around the World in Spandex by Chris Jericho Are We There Yet by Robert Caprio At Issue: Professional Wrestling Can You Take The Heat? The WWF Is Cooking: By Jim Ross Countdown to Lockdown by Mick Foley Demolition Dad by Phil Earle Drawing Heat by Jim Freedman Foley Is Good by Mick…

Recent Release Roundup
News / March 16, 2020

The following recent releases did not get advance listings and thus weren’t in our weekly release schedule. Beckett Wrestling Price Guide 2020 by Beckett Media The newest title on the Beckett Price Guide book calendar, this first edition of the Beckett Wrestling Price Guide contains pricing for trading cards and action figures/Funko POP! Figures and will include a bonus UFC/MMA section. The wrestling collectibles field has been underserved in recent years. With the release of this new book, that’s about to change. The Headlock of Destiny: An Epic Fantasy / Pro Wrestling Mash-up (Titan Wars) by Samuel Gately Some say titans are descended from giants. Others say they are risen from men. But there’s never any debate about where to find them. They will be in the center of a roaring crowd, beating the hell out of each other. From contenders like the Savage and Scott Flawless to pretenders like Richard the Living Portrait and Troll-Blooded Thom, a titan’s lot in life is the same: To wrestle for dominion and glory in the squared circle. Van, a quiet titan from the brewery town of Headwaters, wants no part in this. He’d prefer to be left alone with a beer. But…

New Philosophy Book Coming
News / February 6, 2020

A new book on philosophy in wrestling is due for release in June. Philosophy Smackdown by Douglas Edwards has the following advance notice: From its carnival origins to its current status as a global phenomenon, pro wrestling has a unique presence in popular culture. Part sport and part theatre, the impressive antics of its larger-than-life characters have captured the imaginations of generations of fans, and prompted endless speculation about behind-the-scenes machinations. Philosophy Smackdown is a study of pro wrestling as distinctive as pro wrestling itself: it is the first philosophical look at this major cultural spectacle. Philosopher and fan Douglas Edwards takes both philosophy and pro wrestling to parts unknown. With liveliness, humor and insight, he shows that pro wrestling is fertile ground for reflection on fundamental human issues, such as reality, freedom, identity, morality, justice, and meaning. He explores these through pivotal events in pro wrestling, from the eighties heyday of Hulkamania to the recent emergence of AEW. Philosophy Smackdown is a read that will delight philosophers and pro wrestling fans alike. It’s time to ask yourself: Whatcha gonna do when Philosophy Smackdown runs wild on you? I’ll have a full review in due course.

A Quick Site Update
News / January 21, 2020

I’ve now completed the reconstruction of the site and am pleased to say I’ve cobbled together every review that was on the original version (which covered every book I owned in print.) Throw in the ones that I’ve added in the meantime and the site now has 195 reviews. I’ll still be updating the site with new reviews but the pace will obviously slow significantly as I read through new books (of which I have a healthy backlog.) I will still be adding the weekly release schedule updates and the occasional round-up of books that were released without advance notice. Thanks for all your support and for spreading the word. If you’ve enjoyed the blog, please do check out my own books.

Recent Release Roundup
News / January 13, 2020

The following recent releases did not get advance listings and thus weren’t in our weekly release schedule. Owen Hart: King of Pranks: The Ultimate Anthology of Owen’s Greatest Ribs, Pranks and Stories After his passing in May 1999 at the age of 34, the world discovered a couple of things about Owen Hart that hitherto had only been fully appreciated by his friends, family and colleagues:One – Owen was one of the most highly-respected and beloved people in the wrestling industry.Two – Owen was perhaps the greatest prankster in the history of the business.Through exhaustive research, this book chronicles more than 100 pranks, jokes and ribs Owen perpetrated on his co-workers, friends, family and even his boss as told by witnesses, co-conspirators and of course, the victims.Also included in this book is a truncated biography of Owen’s life in and out of the ring, as well as innumerable fun facts and ridiculous side stories from the wacky world of professional wrestling.All hail The King of Pranks and long live The King! Nikolai by John Crowther NIKOLAI is the authorized comic biography of Croatian wrestling legend, Nikolai Volkoff, 2005 WWE Hall of Famer, former WWF Tag Team Champion, and former partner of…